I believe that in order to avoid problems w/anything in life, get some education on the subject, or contact someone who knows.
I spent over 10yrs in the auto repair field, and now I work in the engineering field for the manufacturers. I left the repair field because of the obsolete system I was forced to work under, which induces people to abandon honesty and feel justified at ripping people off. I could no longer live & work like this.
The system is called "flat rate" pay. It assigns a time to a given task. I.E. if the dashboard needs to be replaced, the flat rate book assigns lets say 2.0 hrs. If the tech completes it in 1.0 hr., he just 'made' an hours pay. If it takes him 3.0 hrs., he just lost an hours pay. The guy's racing the clock, and misses a few screws and forgets to plug-in your instruments. Now the dash squeeks and rattles, and nothin works! It's easy to see that this system seems attractive to the tech. But it's also easy to see how it can be abused toward the consumer, especially when you don't have someone to check over the work performed. (almost never happens)An establishment will stand behind its employees that make them "good money". It's always the almighty dollar!
To find a good shop, start by talking to people you know. If possible, get multiple quotes from different shops. Contact the business bureaus. Pick-up a copy of your state laws on auto repair at the Sec. of State. Take someone w/you who has more knowledge on autos.(buy them lunch, a small price to pay!)
Look for a repair facility that has 'National Certification' as well as required 'State Certification'. The people there have taken the extra effort to care. Don't buy your tires where you buy your toilet paper! Common sense, need tires? Go the tire shop where they work w/tires every day! They know the ratings, etc... These small or department store shops are ok for small tasks, such as replacing a battery or balancing your tires,(maybe)but remember, they're staffed usually by 'kids' just out of school or those w/out experience.
There's too much to talk about here lacking the time and space.
I would be glad to help you out if you Email me, but I have a life and work for a living too. Try to have something I can work with, not a complaint "I have a noise in my rear end". After all, how would your doctor respond to that?!!
The Best of Luck! Autodoc2 [email protected]